Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Glass of Time by Michael Cox

I'm sorry I'm finished this book! I enjoyed so many aspects of it. The setting of the Victorian Era, the intelligence and strength with which the characters were endowed, the manner in which the story progressed and unfolded, and the voice with which the story was told.

The heroine is kept in darkness as much as the reader and together you discover all the many twists, turns, and secrets that this narrative is packed full with. Esperanza comes to her employment at the great country house of Evenwood, home of the 26th Baroness Tansor, already aware of a great mystery that will impact her life once all is revealed. Such begins the unraveling of a complicated web of intrigue, deceit, murder, and betrayal.

This is not a fast-moving, hard-hitting story, but it does move along at a consistent pace. I found myself totally involved with the characters and trying to put the clues together to uncover the secrets. A definite challenge since some secrets aren't revealed until the end. I enjoyed the writing style of Michael Cox to such an extent that I've already been looking for his previous novel in local bookstores, but have so far been unsuccessful.

I recommend this book to anyone who has a love for the Victorian Era, and enjoys solving a mystery.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

In The Land of Invisible Women by Qanta Ahmed

I enjoyed this book. Accompanying Qanta Ahmed as she spends two years in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is as much an eye-opening and spiritually enlightening experience for the reader as it is for the author.

From the beginning and her concerns about fitting into Saudi society, despite her Muslim faith, to the ending realization of how much she has learned and changed and become stronger for her experiences, Qanta shows us a side of the Saudi people and the Muslim faith we would find nowhere else.

Some of the lifestyle of Saudi people is difficult to understand or relate to from a western viewpoint, but Qanta describes it well. From the frustrations of not being allowed to be independent in such simple things as driving, dining in public, or shopping unaccompanied, to the difficulties of just doing the job she is trained to do while working in a male dominated society. And yet she finds that the women of this society are finding ways to effect changes that western cultures take for granted, and they do it all within the parameters of their society and with the aid of forward-thinking fathers and husbands.

I recommend this book to anyone who has a curiosity or is looking for a better understanding about Saudi Arabia or the Muslim faith.